Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chirag Patel Admits Bribing Doctors In Cash-For-Patients Scheme


NEWARK, N.J. – The former executive director of Orange Community MRI LLC, today admitted paying bribes to doctors since April 2008 and agreed to forfeit $89,000 in proceeds from the crime, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Chirag Patel, 37, of Warren, N.J., pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of soliciting and receiving illegal cash kickbacks for patient referrals in violation of the federal health care anti-kickback statute.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Dec. 8, 2011, Patel was arrested and charged with offering and paying cash kickbacks to a New Jersey health care practitioner in exchange for referrals to Orange Community MRI. On Dec. 13, 2011, 13 New Jersey doctors and one nurse practitioner were arrested and charged in separate Complaints with accepting similar cash kickback payments from Orange MRI. Each of the defendants was recorded taking envelopes of cash in exchange for patient referrals.

Patel is the ninth person charged in the December 2011 takedown to plead guilty. Patel is the second member of Orange Community MRI to plead guilty; Ashokkumar Babaria, the former owner and medical director of Orange Community MRI, pleaded guilty on Sept. 27, 2012.

As part of his plea agreement, Patel agreed to forfeit $89,180 that constitutes criminal proceeds of the crime. As part of his guilty plea, Ashokkumar Babaria agreed to forfeit his revenues traceable to corrupt referrals, which the government has estimated could reach as much as $2 million. The seven health care providers that referred patients to Orange MRI who have plead guilty thus far have collectively agreed to forfeit over $150,000 in illegal kickbacks from Orange MRI.

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